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Old 09-18-2010, 06:55 PM   #1
Bolster
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Default 'Modern' Generations of Snap-on Driver Handles

This thread has morphed into an attempt to create a timeline for 'modern' Snap-on handles, so I'm moving this information to the top. Your help is solicited to nail down dates. If you see errors or can add detail please post! Thanks!

////////////////////// "Modern" Snap-on Handles. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Early Octogrip. 1939-1946. Pyralin, with what looks like a clear section near the bolster. See here.

Later OctoGrip. 1948-1960. All black, the "classic" eight sided screwdriver handle. See here.

Par-V. Snap-on's economy drivers from the 1940s and 1950s. Translucent fluted amber handle.

Contour Grip (aka "1st Gen 4 side"). 1962-c.1988 (ends 1970 according to Collecting Snap-on website, but Contour Grip still dominates in 1988 catalogs, so we believe the website in error.) CG features slim square handles with rounded corners, predominantly black, but red for Pozidrive. Made of Tenite, which is prone to crack and crumble. More accurately, there's a gradual transition from Contour Grip to PowerGrip Plus in the late 1980s. (Contour Grip patent # 201171 filed 1961, granted 1965). See here.

Torque Grip, triangular grips in black, orange, and white, according to Snapmom (see photo in thread below). May have been available toward the end of the Contour Grip era (?). Lauver has a Torque Grip from 1988, and found it in the '88 price list but not the '88 catalog; therefore this may mark the end of the TG period. TG is also possibly made of Tenite, known to deteriorate and ooze; sound specimens of TG are relatively rare. See here.

PowerGrip Plus (aka "2nd Gen 4 side"). c.1988- c.2007-8, but with no firm begin or end date. These are the larger hard square handles (like the current Williams) with swooping curves that came in a rainbow of colors: commonly seen in red, orange, green, yellow, and black. See here. Often referred to simply as "Snap-on Hard Handles." In the 1988 SO catalog, most drivers were older Contour Grip, but some were optionally available with the newer PowerGrip Plus handles, so PGP was being introduced around this time. Phase-out date: the 2008 catalog has old-style PGP screwdrivers & current soft grip screwdrivers & introduces new instinct soft and hard drivers. According to a recent GJ poll, the PGP driver handles are by far and away the most popular, even as of 2010. Recently SO reintroduced just the PGP handles (after a bogus story circulated that SO had 'lost' the molds) so it's now possible to "make your own" PGP drivers. PGP is still available as of 2010 on nut drivers, pry bars, and possibly other tools.

Electronic Square Handle. Somewhere in here, SO is making small drivers with hard black (and later, orange) square-cross-section handles that are more reminiscent of very slim CG handles than PGP handles. Apparently limited to electronics service. Still available. See here. (There is a similarly shaped translucent yellow handle used on bit drivers and nut drivers, known to have been available in the 1970s.)

Soft Grip. 2001-2008? Called "new" in a 2001 catalog, where most drivers are available as either new Soft Grip or old hard PGP. They have a hard plastic colored top and bottom cap with a black gripping portion. The SG handle style is often panned, was remarkably unpopular in a recent GJ poll, and criticized for being difficult to clean, or too small in diameter. While mostly discontinued by 2008 (?) they're still available on ratcheting drivers as of 2010. See here.

Instinct Soft Handle. Introduced 2008. Hexagonal cross-section, black-and-color, overmolded with soft plastic. These proved popular in a recent GJ poll, second to the PGP handle style.

Instinct Hard Handle. Introduced 2008. Hexagonal cross-section, black-and-color, overmolded with hard plastic.

////////////////////////////////// \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
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Last edited by Bolster; 10-05-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

I was buying them in 1970 up to somewhere around 1989-91? then bought the Triangle, That didn't last long.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Trying to get up to speed on my Snap-on, was reading an old thread where Billymade stated the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by billymade View Post
Snap-On screwdriver family tree:

1. "OCTO-GRIP" slightly rounded edges?(octagon 8 sides)
2. 1st generation four sided plastic with slightly rounded edges (square 4 sides)
3. triangle plastic style grips with rounded edges (triangle 3 sides)
4. 2nd generation four sided plastic with indentation and more rounded edges (square 4 sides) [EDIT: This is the type still sold by Williams I believe]
5. "soft grip" indented thumb rest (how many sides?)
6. Instinct Hard Handle (triangle three sides)
7. Instinct Soft Handle (triangle three sides)
Can someone tell me what years #2 above, what he calls the "1st generation four sided plastic with slightly rounded edges (square 4 sides)", aka the Contour Grip, were made?

These?



And if you're in the mood, can you also tell me what years the Octo-grips were made?

Here's my 1/4" drivers...an octo-grip, a contour grip, and a power grip plus...

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Last edited by Bolster; 09-23-2010 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

I like the 2 gen best of all. They may have made the first gen before 1970 but that was my first experiance with them. I was using about 12 differant brands before that
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Collectingsnapon.com; seems to have gotten it down pretty well.... even breaks down "octogrip" into two categories! There are some earlier screwdrivers; that I hadn't hear of! Check out the "screwdriver" pull down menu: http://www.collectingsnapon.com/index.html

According to him; the "Contour Grip" (aka: 1st gen) was from 1962 to 1970 but I thought the 2nd gen. came out around the 80s... I have also seen where it seemed to take Snap-On awhile to fully convert over the 2nd gen. handles; this seems to be borne out by seeing the 1st gen. handles with later Snap-On logo on them. These tended to be odd ball specialty items; square drives, carb tools etc. I think there are general timeframes but also; a lag time where converting over to new styles took awhile... others, like the plastic square "cabinet" or "electronic" seem to hang around forever! Go figure!
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Last edited by billymade; 09-18-2010 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

1962-1970 (or possibly 1988), and it's called Contour Grip. Got it.

That whole "first, second" generation thing gets me confused; and seems it's used conflictingly.

So what's the correct name for the handle that followed Contour Grip, the handle that's now sold by Williams and that many people refer to simply as "Hard Handle?" Is it, "Curvey Modern Fat Contour Grip?"
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Last edited by Bolster; 09-23-2010 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

So what's the correct name for the handle that followed Contour Grip, the handle that's now sold by Williams and that many people refer to simply as "Hard Handle?" Is it, "Curvey Modern Fat Contour Grip?"[/QUOTE]

i remember at the time of release they were called powergrip plus
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

I have a Carb adjustment set that I bought in 1983. The set contained one 1st gen and one second gen handle Qjet adjustment tools. I didn't see it on a regular screwdriver until about 1990
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

You won't find triangle grips very often. The were made from a plastic that cracked and oozed oil and were warrantied with newer four sided handles. I have two left of the triangle and they, after over 20 years have finally decided to start oozing oil and crack, most did this within the first ten years. I want a hard handle for replacement and am not sure what Snap On has now, the truck runs on Tuesdays at work and I work a weekend crew and am never there on Tuesdays. Hmmm might have to work some OT on Tues.

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Old 09-18-2010, 09:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

I have a few of the triangle handles left One is a #4 Phillips and the other is a Large flat tip. Im not crazy about them but you can crank some torque with them. Mine havent cracked yet but as much oil as they see I'd never know if they were leaking. I keep them in my engine building box. I've lost the rest of the set over the years
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Before they crack, they stink. I like those handles best, but they are hard to find.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

So I'm guessing the "powergrip plus" (the ones that look like modern Williams) started in 1971. And when did SO get rid of them, and go to the soft grip, or instinct, or whatever was next?
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
So I'm guessing the "powergrip plus" (the ones that look like modern Williams) started in 1971. And when did SO get rid of them, and go to the soft grip, or instinct, or whatever was next?
Bolster,

The 1962 SO catalog introduced the new (first gen 4side) drivers. The 1988 SO catalog still showed this same handle style on most drivers, but certain drivers were optionally available with the newer (2nd gen 4 side, aka PowerGrip Plus) handles. So it sounds like they were gradually rolling out the newer handle style about this time.

By the way, I'm interested in the date ranges for all the SO handle styles. I just don't have the catalogs to nail them down.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauver View Post
The 1962 SO catalog introduced the new (first gen 4side) drivers. The 1988 SO catalog still showed this same handle style on most drivers, but certain drivers were optionally available with the newer (2nd gen 4 side, aka PowerGrip Plus) handles. So it sounds like they were gradually rolling out the newer handle style about this time.
Interesting! So what's the story with the period form 1970-1988? The link above makes it sound like the Contour Grip was over in 1970 but clearly that's not the case. Sounds like the Contour Grip was still going strong in 1988?

And when were the PowerGrip Plus terminated? I'm guessing around 2005, maybe? I think I bought some old PGP stock off a truck around then? Maybe earlier?
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:21 AM   #15
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Some BP Insuloid screwdrivers, early 30s, the first hard handle.
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Old 09-19-2010, 07:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

The triangle's, black, orange, white. Could be others, the whites are very hard to find.
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:22 AM   #17
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

I have a couple of the old triangle one's..
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:36 AM   #18
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

When were the PowerGrip Plus terminated? I'm guessing around 2005, maybe? Earlier

EDIT: Will start another thread and ask.
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Last edited by Bolster; 09-19-2010 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:13 AM   #19
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Wasn't the triangle handle called torque grip? I remember they were available concurrently with the 4 sided models.
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Old 09-19-2010, 03:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: Years that Snap-on "First Gen 4 Side" Handles were Made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolster View Post
When were the PowerGrip Plus terminated? I'm guessing around 2005, maybe? Earlier

well, there were still quite a few powergrip screwdrivers to choose from in catalog 900 which was two yrs ago, even in the latest catalog 1100 there are still some available, i.e nut drivers, the hard handle ratchet screwdriver is still around and thats powergrip design,
with the re intruduction of these handles becoming available as spares, well i guess they've never been away, clearly an all time favorite

Last edited by dj spanners; 09-19-2010 at 03:36 PM.
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